Notes from the Field

One Final Note from Dryden

April 8th, 2011 by Kelly Brunt

MABEL: Flying on a high-altitude aircraft at the brink of space, the MABEL instrument is helping scientists to simulate measurements from NASA’s next ice-observing satellite, ICESat-2.

April 8, 2011

Today, I caught this video on the NASAexplorer channel on YouTube:

It covers Jake Bleacher’s work in understanding lava-sheet inflation
(see his video, which covers this interesting geologic process). On
MABEL’s last mission (4/5), we surveyed some of Jake’s sites in both
Arizona and New Mexico.

The lava sheets that Jake studies are very broad, flat regions. For
his work, he has kinematic GPS data across sections of these sheets.
We mimicked Jake’s traverses (from 65,000 feet up) to gather
ground-truth data for MABEL. Additionally, because MABEL samples in a
swath pattern, as opposed to just over a single point, we hope to
provide Jake with additional information about his survey areas.

MABEL is an airborne simulator of the laser altimeter that will be
aboard the ICESat-2 satellite. ICEsat-2 is designed to look at ice
sheets, not lava sheets. So this MABEL mission  over Jake’s sites
represents the cooperative nature, typical of the different geoscience
disciplines, at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Well, we are pretty much finished out here. The engineers flew home
today and there are only a couple of us still here, flying out
tomorrow. We hope to return to the field with MABEL sometime later in
the summer.

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